Objective: Mismatch responses are elicited to changes in sound streams in healthy newborns. In the ideal case, these responses can predict cognitive problems later in life. We employed a multiple deviant paradigm for a fast assessment of the ability of the newborn brain to respond to various types of acoustic changes.
Methods: In 12 healthy newborns, we recorded an electroencephalogram (EEG) and magnetoencephalogram while presenting auditory stimuli. Between repeated stimuli, four types of acoustic changes (frequency, intensity, duration, and a gap) were presented, varying in deviance magnitude.
Results: One major response was present in the neonatal evoked potentials and fields at 250-260 ms. Magnetic mismatch responses were elicited to all change types except for the duration deviant and they were positive in polarity. The frequency deviant elicited more positive EEG amplitudes than the standard, whereas the response to the duration deviant was more negative.
Conclusions: These results show that newborns can detect changes to at least four types of deviances within a sound stream. Furthermore, the use of magneto- and electroencephalography is complementary in newborns, since the methods may reveal different outcomes.
Significance: Further studies are warranted to determine whether the present study design can play a role in testing auditory function in clinical infant populations.